Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Origins is a gay sex simulator developed by HomoWare and released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It has been called the spiritual successor to the acclaimed Baldur's Backgate series.
The story follows the last of an ancient militia, the Gay Wardens, as they travel the world of Ferelden trying to unite the various races against both a dark evil and a repressive social structure.
Ideas for the game arose after a question-and-answer session on another HomoWare game, the highly successful Mass Effect. The developers found that the most common question they faced from fans of the game was: "how do you access the lesbian scene?"
At first the team was annoyed, and lead programmer Buster Hymen complained on his blog: "I can't believe these fans! After all the blood, sweat and tears we put into that story, all those nights we stayed up to work on models and code, all that stupid technobabble I had to write... and all they care about the bit where you kiss a fucking blue woman! Get a life you nerds! Have you never seen a lesbian before? Do you even have a computer?"
Ultimately however, HomoWare realised the sexploitative potential of the role-playing genre. They reasoned that if one barely titillating display of homosexuality can garner so much publicity, imagine what they could do with a steamy, no-holds-barred anal scene between a man and an elf... Or a threesome of dwarven women (complete with beards)... It was a goldmine of good ideas - scenes involving the Mabari War-Dog class pretty much wrote themselves.
Hence, HomoWare began developing Dragon Age: Origins, the first Dungeons & Dragons-style sex simulator.
The aim of Dragon Age: Origins is to bed as many people as possible. Players can accomplish this by continuously selecting the correct dialogue options, until your companions approve enough to allow you into their tent. Much like real life courting, this can take 10+ hours to achieve. The seduction process can be accelerated by simply showering your allies with gifts, although the developers do warn that any sex you receive through such shallow actions will be ultimately ungratifying. There is a large pool of recruitable and bangable characters spread across Ferelden, and as a Gay Warden it is your sacred duty to bring them together under one banner.
There is also the task of vanquishing an invading demonic army, however this is really just an optional sidequest for you to do in between nailing other party members.
Story & Characters
All aspects of the story were praised by the gaming press, although curiously very few of them elaborated on what it was they liked about it. Most simply mentioned it as an afterthought after praising the character design, dialogue and cut-scenes. Fans were less ambiguous, indicating that they felt the story just got in the way of their obsessive pursuit for sex.
There are many NPCs available to you on your quest. The first companion you meet is Alistair, a socially-awkward but handsome knight who is next in line for the throne. Romancing him can allow you to become a literal queen rather than a figurative one. Then you encounter Morrigan, the scantily-clad witch who ironically wears more clothes when you bed her than she does through the rest of the game.
The bard Leiliana is one of the most sought-after lays due to her chaste, incorruptible nature. The developers hinted at this by giving her a name which is also a sexual command. Then there's Zevran, the Elven rogue. Zevran is handsome, charming, well-groomed and European - or to put it another way, homosexual.
Dragon Age: Origins was released to generally favourable reviews from critics, and was one of the strongest sellers over the hanukkah period. Craven Moorhead of GameZone rated it 9.9/10, saying: "Never has a game made my hands so calloused. You know... from pressing the buttons." GameSpot reviewer Moe Lester made similar sentiments, claiming: "I couldn't put it down... the game, I mean."
The game's relaxed approach to homosexuality has caused much controversy in the press. Conservative MP Gabe Asher was among the most disparaging, stating: "Having played the game on my own and in my room - for several hours - I can say with some confidence that it is thoroughly reprehensible."
The Daily Mail's review was also critical, and voiced intense fears of the copycat crimes the game could potentially inspire. Fans of the game were quick to defend it however, and one letter written in repsonse pointed out that: "Super Mario never inspired anyone to go round jumping on people's heads, why would Dragon Age encourage people to have gay sex?" Another simply replied: "Would it be so terrible if it did?"
HomoWare have since tried to downplay the homoerotic aspects of the game, with CEO Benjamin Dover issuing the statement: "It's not all about gay sex you know, you can just cuddle if you want."